What To Watch For During President Trump’s Asia Trip : NPR


President Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (proper) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier than the Northeast Asia Security dinner on the U.S. Consulate General in Hamburg, Germany, on July 6.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (proper) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier than the Northeast Asia Security dinner on the U.S. Consulate General in Hamburg, Germany, on July 6.

Evan Vucci/AP

With information from the particular counsel’s probe into Russian interference within the presidential election nonetheless swirling in Washington, President Trump is leaving Friday on his longest overseas journey to this point.

The Asian odyssey will take him to 5 international locations and two worldwide summits. Trade points and North Korea’s nuclear risk are more likely to dominate the discussions. Here’s a fast primer on what to observe for at every cease:


After a stopover in Hawaii, Trump arrives in Tokyo the place he’ll meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in addition to American and Japanese service members. He’ll additionally meet with the family of Japanese residents who’ve been held prisoner in North Korea. Japan is alarmed by the more and more aggressive strikes of North Korea, together with checks of ballistic missiles which have flown over Japanese territory.

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During the marketing campaign, Trump stated he’d be keen to see Japan develop its personal nuclear arsenal, upending a long time of nonproliferation coverage. Since taking workplace, Trump has reaffirmed the U.S. dedication to defend Japan, although aides say there’s room for Japan to improve its personal protection.

On a lighter observe, Trump and Abe are each avid golfers, they usually’re anticipated to play a spherical collectively in Tokyo.

South Korea

Trump will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and ship a speech to the National Assembly, the place he’ll urge different international locations to ramp up the strain to halt North Korea’s nuclear program.

“President Trump will reiterate the plain fact that North Korea threatens not just our allies — South Korea and Japan — and the United States,” nationwide safety adviser H.R. McMaster stated in a briefing on Thursday. “North Korea is a threat to the entire world, so all nations of the world must do more to counter that threat.”

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Trump will even go to Camp Humphreys, a newly expanded army base 40 miles south of Seoul, which can finally home lots of the 28,500 U.S. troops within the nation. South Korea paid most of the price of growing the $11 billion base, and the Trump administration calls it an awesome instance of “burden sharing.”

During the marketing campaign, Trump questioned whether or not South Korea and different allies contribute sufficient to their very own protection, though South Korea’s protection spending is comparatively strong — about 2.5 % of its complete economic system. President Moon has additionally known as for finally giving the South Korean army “operational control” of forces on the peninsula, together with Americans, within the occasion of a battle. The switch of operational management has repeatedly been postponed.

Although U.S. presidents visiting Korea usually tour the demilitarized zone, Trump is not going to achieve this. Aides cited time constraints and the president’s go to to Camp Humphreys.


In China, Trump will meet with President Xi Jinping, who simply concluded a Communist Party Congress that strengthened Xi’s grip on energy and enshrined his insurance policies within the celebration structure.

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Trump will as soon as once more urge China to make use of its financial leverage to place the brakes on North Korea’s nuclear program. Aides say the administration is happy with steps China has taken to this point — reminiscent of halting purchases of North Korean coal — however add that every one international locations have to do extra. In September, China’s central financial institution ordered monetary establishments all through the nation to cease doing enterprise with North Korea.

“China is definitely doing more. But obviously it’s not enough,” McMaster stated. “This isn’t the United States or anyone else asking China to do us a favor. China recognizes it is clearly in China’s interest — and all nations’ interest — to denuclearize the peninsula.”

Trump additionally desires to press China for extra balanced commerce. He complained repeatedly through the marketing campaign in regards to the U.S. commerce deficit with China, which topped $300 billion final 12 months. The administration argues that China unfairly restricts imports from the U.S. In October, the Commerce Department ordered anti-dumping tariffs on imports of Chinese aluminum foil. Despite Trump’s combative rhetoric, the administration has to this point held off on imposing extra extreme commerce penalties. Trump has advised he’ll look extra favorably on China’s commerce strikes if Xi cooperates on North Korea.

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In Danang, Vietnam, Trump will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which brings collectively leaders of 21 international locations across the Pacific Rim. He’ll additionally converse to a gathering of company executives being held alongside the summit. Trump is predicted to debate the necessary position Asia performs within the U.S. economic system in addition to the U.S. dedication to a free and open “Indo-Pacific region.”

Those themes echo pronouncements from former President Barack Obama, who tried to spice up America’s profile within the area, each militarily and economically. In one in all his first acts as president, although, Trump withdrew the U.S. from a 12-nation commerce pact on the middle of Obama’s pacific agenda. Trump’s APEC speech shall be a possibility for the president to supply an alternate imaginative and prescient for U.S. engagement within the area.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will even attend the APEC summit. The White House has not stated whether or not Trump and Putin will meet one-on-one.

On the style entrance, APEC custom requires a “family photo” of leaders carrying matching outfits primarily based on the host nation’s indigenous garb. (You can see a gallery from previous summits right here.) Vietnam plans to stay to this custom, although it isn’t recognized if Trump will really don the native costume.

Trump will even journey to Hanoi for conferences with Vietnamese leaders. He’ll be in Vietnam on Nov. 11, when the usobserves Veterans Day.


Trump will attend a summit of Southeast Asian nations in Manila and meet one-on-one with President Rodrigo Duterte. The Philippines chief has drawn worldwide scrutiny for his crackdown on drug trafficking, which critics say contains 1000’s of extra-judicial killings. Last 12 months, Obama canceled a deliberate badembly with Duterte after the Philippine chief warned him to not elevate the human rights difficulty and referred to Obama as a “son of a whore.”

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While Trump will be a part of the 10-nation ASEAN summit, he’s skipping a broader East Asia Summit that follows. Some observers say that is a missed alternative for Trump to reveal U.S. dedication to the area. But White House aides defended the choice, noting the journey is already the longest by a U.S. chief because the notorious “Bushu-suru” journey by former President George H.W. Bush in 1992. (On that go to, Bush obtained sick and threw up on Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at a proper state dinner.)

“The president has to come back to work,” stated one senior administration official. “We can’t have him away from Washington forever.”

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